Chee Soon Juan: My cafe doesn't have service charge, leave tip & money will be shared with staff

Just put in the tip, see how it feels.

Belmont Lay | July 09, 2021, 11:08 AM

Seasoned politician and now bona fide businessman Chee Soon Juan has requested customers at his Orange & Teal cafe to leave a tip for his hardworking crew in lieu of a 10 per cent service charge.

Chee highlighted in a Facebook post on July 9 this reduced cost initiative that has been implemented since his cafe opened on June 25.

Promoting tipping culture at his cafe

He highlighted that the 10 per cent service charge levied by other establishments is frequently not distributed to the staff, and these places have even treated it as an entitlement to increase the bill by passing on cost to customers.

But such a practice does not sit well with Chee.

In order to continue to motivate his staff and pay them well, Chee said he is leaving it to the discretion of customers to pool together their own tips and the funds will go directly to the kitchen crew, which also serves as a nod to the services rendered.

Chee wrote:

For those who’ve come to Orange & Teal, you may have noticed that we haven’t levied the usual 10% service charge. (Neither do we charge GST.)

Many establishments do it – and they are entitled to it. But many also do not give these charges to the staff. I highlight this because at Orange & Teal, we want our staff to be adequately compensated financially. To say they’ve worked hard is an understatement.

But rather than make you pay 10% more on your bill, I’d rather you leave a tip for the servers (there’s a thank-you box at the cashier’s) if you find the service and food a pleasant enough experience. The money is shared with our kitchen crew.

Learning point

The expert politician then slipped in a hot take on the day's current affairs as he segued into how paying people more can lead to more motivated workers and better outcomes.

Chee added:

If you’ve followed my politics all these years, you would know that I have always argued for our workers to be paid more. If our Ministers know how to take care of themselves with kingly salaries, why can’t our workers have an equitable share of the pie?

When you pay our workers low, they are demoralised, unmotivated and unproductive. The government then uses this as an excuse to criticise Singaporean workers and hire foreigners.

This has stoked the current debate about CECA which breeds resentment among Singaporeans.

This was not the first time Chee has used his F&B breakout hit business to talk politics.

Previously, in an earlier Facebook musing on June 29, Chee wrote that high rents make operating a small business hard.

He used his own cafe as an example of a David price-taker among the Goliath of chained businesses renting space from corporate landlords, and admonishing customers to support smaller entities.

Chee ended his latest post on an upbeat note.

He wrote: "I want to get this model right and with your support, I’m confident we’ll achieve it at Orange & Teal."

Top photos via Chee Soon Juan Facebook